Entrepreneurial Immigrants Picking up the Slack in Toronto plus will the CBSA Deny Entry to Torture Advocate?

By Author: Admin | May 15, 2011

Entrepreneurial Immigrants Picking up the Slack in Toronto:

Thorncliffe Park is the neighbourhood in Toronto that is characterized by many high rises, and, since the early 1970s, a large immigrant population, mostly South Asian.   While listening to right-wing talk radio (which tends to  remove key facts in a debate thereby creating a forgone conclusion) a listener recalled how it was a great neighbourhood when it was created in the 1950s; he mentioned that his father was instrumental  in the creation of a soccer field there.  He asserted that it “used to” be a great neighbourhood.   Implicit in his conclusion was that the change in demographics made Thorncliffe Park a worse place than it used to be.  Demographics could mean the increase in population density, or some other aspect of demographics such as race.  Overt racism is frowned upon in Canadian media.

It is in many ways a neglected part of the city, some areas lacking a playground despite having one of the largest child populations in Toronto.  The sole  grocery store devolved from a regularly priced Dominion grocery store, then into the discount food retailer “Food Basics” , and then to having no grocery store at all; very difficult in a neighbourhood that is not pedestrian friendly.   The main street, Overlea Boulevard, is designed for easy automotive  access to the drive thru restaurants, strip plazas, and shopping mall that encompass it.  Some students have to traverse a thin sidewalk over an eight story high bridge to get to the two main schools in the area.

It’s been said that immigrants to a city have no sense of local history to where they immigrate, and as such, they do not bear any compunction towards the loss of historical aspects of their adopted home, such as local architecture.  This can be sad where there is a loss of historical or innovative buildings.  However, such buildings are not part of the landscape at Thorncliffe Park, but rather, are in other parts of Toronto, near the more well off populace reside.   Some immigrant clients of mine who reside in Thorncliffe aspire to move out of there, to the spacious suburbs of Mississauga and beyond.   If true on a larger scale, this would make Thorncliffe a perpetual landing pad for South Asian immigrants who need some less costly economic accommodation.  Such a revolving door neighbourhood is not one where there can easily develop  a core of permanent dwellers who take pride in the neighbourhood.   Unexpectedly, the area is characterized by low crime rates, because and not in spite of the presence of recent immigrants.

Entrance to Sunny Foodmart - part of a larger Flemingdon Plaza at Thorncliffe Park

Nevertheless, the residents have basic needs.  The loss of the only grocery store was seen as an opportunity by the three Chinese Canadians who in 2010 placed a brand new 35,000-square-foot store grocery store in the area.  This reminds me of a visit I made to Atlantic city a few years ago, where, in the economically deprived areas, there was a lack of any mainstream grocery or mainstream  convenience store such as a 7-11.  Rather, there was a chain convenience stores owned and operated by Lebanese immigrants in those areas.  When visiting one such store, I noted how such immigrant shop-keepers were unfazed  when enduring taunts from the apparently uneducated customers such as, “Hey Osama! How much for this?”  Entrepreneurial immigrants see opportunity where local business people do not.

Will the CBSA Deny Entry? Aka Alan Dershowitz: Inadmissible to Canada?

Alan Dershowitz, American legal academic, and self-anointed adjudicator of things anti-Semitic (and anti-Israel – regretfully, he does not distinguish between the two),  is scheduled to be in Toronto for a fund raising dinner on May 31 2011.  Mr. Dershowitz was recently barred from speaking on The Palestine Question at Norway universities.   No word on whether the CBSA will deem him inadmissible to Canada due to his advocating of torture, a big no-no under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Given the pro-Israel leanings of Mr. Alykhan Velshi, Ministerial Assistant to the current Immigration Minister, Mr. Dershowitz’s ease of entry to Canada, unmolested, should be assured, despite his violation of Canada’s laws.


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